Guyana’s President, Brigadier David Granger on Wednesday emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to doing things the “right way” in a meeting with CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation, Darren Woods, and a team of officials.
The meeting was held at President Granger’s office; Ministry of the Presidency, Georgetown, Guyana (MoTP).
“We are at the start of an oil and gas industry and we want to ensure that our people are involved… We are happy with the way things are going so far and we want to assure you of the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability. We take decisions at the Cabinet level and then those decisions are taken to the National Assembly and we do not see that process changing. All Guyanese must feel involved in the process,” the President told the ExxonMobil team.
According to a MoTP statement , President Granger said that at the end of the process, Guyanese must be able to view the development of a petroleum industry as one that is beneficial to the national interest.
The Granger administration has come in for criticism in recent months from sections of civil society and other stakeholders for what they say is a lack of transparency in the government’s handling of oil and gas preparations, and the Production Sharing Agreement with ExxonMobil.
The President, according to the statement, said that it is important that there are regular and accurate announcements on matters pertaining to the development of the sector, adding that Guyanese must be involved, especially in the mainstream opportunities, which are available in the industry.
“We have got to keep the public informed to ensure that civil society does not feel that there is some underhand relationship, which is injurious to the country. We want to make the right steps and we are looking to see that the population gets the education they need to participate in this industry. We are looking to ensure that this industry generates employment for our people and, as part of our partnership, I hope that we can have a programme, which can help to educate Guyanese on this industry,” he said.
Darren Woods, the MoTP said, described the meeting as fruitful, noting
that the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability was discussed in detail. He said that the administration’s commitment is welcomed since the company’s interests and aims are in alignment with this. “I think it is a very productive conversation that we just had. The Government is looking to make sure that we develop the resources and that we do it the right way that can benefit the community and the people of Guyana. We are very committed to that ourselves and we had a lot of discussions and dialogue to see how best we can do that to benefit ExxonMobil, the Government and the people of Guyana,” Woods said.
The Meeting was also attended by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge and Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin on the Government’s side while ExxonMobil’s executives present at the meeting were Kimberly Brasington, ExxonMobil’s Guyana Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs; Country Manager and Project Executive, Rod Henson; and Carlton James, Director, Government Relations, Guyana.
Oil production is set to begin in Guyana in mid-2020 at the Liza Phase 1 development project in the Stabroek Block.
ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is operator and holds a 45 percent interest in the block, Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds a 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent.